07 nov 2017
Spain-Israel Business Meeting

The President of Israel encourages Spanish businessmen to cooperate in projects of interest and in third markets

The meeting was attended on the part of Spain by Alfonso Dastis, Juan Rosell, Marisa Poncela and Inmaculada Riera, among others.

CEOE and the Manufacturer’s Association of Israel-MAI renewed the MOU signed in 1993 between the two organizations to strengthen bilateral business relations.

The President of Israel, Reuvén Rivlin, encouraged Spanish businessmen to invest in the country, cooperate in joint projects and access third markets, during a business meeting held at CEOE’s headquarters. Other participants in the meeting included the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfonso Dastis; the president of CEOE, Juan Rosell; the Secretary of State for Commerce, Marisa Poncela; the Director General of Spain’s Chamber of Commerce, Inmaculada Riera; the chairman of the Manufacturer's Association of Israel-MAI and president of the Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations, Shraga Brosh; his counterpart in The Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, Ramzi Gabbay; the Director General of Institutional Cooperation and Coordination of ICEX, María Peña; the director of the Economic-Commercial Mission at the Embassy of Israel in Spain under the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, Liat Shaham; and top representatives from the main companies of both countries.

Spain-Israel Business Meeting
Spain-Israel Business Meeting — ©CEOE


The President of Israel, Reuvén Rivlin, told nearly 300 businessmen from Spain and Israel, that his country is a world leader in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship, and proof of this is the Yozma program supported and co-financed by the Israeli government to promote the creation of start-ups, very similar to FOND-ICO Global in Spain. He mentioned that his country is a leader in biotechnology, cyber security, agri-food or innovation and development.

Thus, he talked about several projects such as “Tech for Good”, technology to do good deeds and bring welfare to the population; an innovative technology for glasses with a device for reading texts that can help in controlling dyslexia; or the "Rewalk" project, which consists on medical robotics and has allowed the development of an exoskeleton that allows people to walk again or even run a marathon.

He also highlighted that there are approximately 300 international centres of large R & D & I multinationals based in Israel, and encouraged Spanish companies to join them since, according to his words "we can do well together and do good together. " He also pointed out that his country already collaborates with Spanish companies on projects of great interest such as the high-speed train between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv or the Eureka Program for the development of cutting-edge technology.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfonso Dastis, highlighted the great economic transformation of Spain and Israel in the last forty years and he assured that both countries trust and promote technological development and promote renewable energy with the aim of achieving an energy mix. Dastis explained that Israel is our second trading partner in the Middle East and that there was a proposal to cooperate in that country in the ambitious infrastructure programs they plan to launch, through the various tenders in the field of renewable energies or in the technological development that is taking place in the country. He also insisted on the possibility of cooperating with Israeli businessmen in third markets, of interest to both.


Renewal of the MOU between CEOE and MAI

The President of CEOE, Juan Rosell, highlighted the renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding between CEOE and the Manufacturer’s Association of Israel-MAI.  The MOU was originally signed in 1993, and it was renewed prior to the meeting by the presidents of both organizations, with the aim of reinforcing business relations and cooperating in areas of common interest. In addition, he referred to supporting innovation and the drive to digitalize our society and economy, which is essential to ensure the future prosperity and well being of our country.

He said that there are three basic pillars for any modern economy, namely education, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as the involvement of public administrations and productive sectors to place Spain in leading positions in global digitalisation. In this regard, he stressed that Israel is a country that has managed to modernize its production model, through its specialization in industries with high added value and the creation of one of the best ecosystems for start-ups in the world.

The Secretary of State for Trade, Marisa Poncela, highlighted the high qualification of Spanish exports to Israel, in sectors such as biotechnology, cyber security, fintech, and smart cities to which, in the near future, we will be able to add smart tourism, the food tech or the drone sector. Spain, she said, aims to become a reference country for the development of infrastructure plans in the State of Israel, especially in transportation and energy. Likewise, Spain aims to cooperate with the Israeli ecosystem of innovation, technology and entrepreneurship not only from the point of view of investment but also to exchange experiences.


Bilateral relations

The president of the Manufacturer's Association of Israel-MAI and president of the Federation of Israeli Economic Organizations, Shraga Brosh, said that Spain accounts for 35% of Israel's exports to Europe and, in addition to encouraging exports of Spanish companies in Israel and vice versa, they should also work together in third countries. "We want Israeli companies to invest in Spain and together we can invest in third countries," he said. "We are not rivals, in fact, we can complement each other," he stated.

Ramzi Gabbay, president of The Israel Export & International Cooperation Institute, used his turn to say that "we want to open the doors to Spanish companies" and to stress the idea that Rivlin or the president of the other Israeli business organization had also referred to during their speech: the creation of a joint venture between Israel and Spain. Gabbay went even further and said that Israel's goal is to reach the Latin American market through this channel, a market where Spain is the main partner.

The Director General of Spain’s Chamber of Commerce, Inmaculada Riera, listed during her speech the characteristics of the Israeli market that make it especially attractive for Spanish companies. "It is a country open to trade and foreign investment and committed, much the same as Spain, to a growing integration in the global market as a way to promote growth, employment and welfare," she said. In addition, Inmaculada Riera highlighted this country’s world leadership in terms of resources dedicated to research, development and innovation. "The enviable figure of 4.3% of GDP destined for investment in civil R & D + i is proof of this leadership. All this makes Israel an important trading, investment and technological partner for our companies, which is reflected in a growing number of business alliances and joint initiatives that result in a continuous increase in bilateral exchanges of goods and services ".


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